CESAR Scheme – Protecting Plant And Machinery For 15 Years 

For 15 years now, the CESAR scheme, the UK’s official construction and agricultural equipment security and registration scheme, has been protecting construction plant equipment from theft and recovering stolen equipment

Established in 2007, CESAR is the only scheme of its kind that incorporates a database of ownership accessible to police forces all around the globe, allowing stolen machinery to be identified and returned to its rightful owner. 

Promoted by the Construction Equipment Association (CEA) and supported by the Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA), the CESAR scheme has become an integral part of the process of keeping our contractors’ equipment safe

A Little Bit of History 

May 2006 saw a major initiative in the campaign to stamp out crime in the construction industry when more than 20 companies were invited to tender to the Plant Theft Action Group to implement a unique security and registration scheme – a first for the sector.  

As the European market leader in security identity systems within the Motorcycle, ATV, Scooter, Trailers, Boats, IT, Cycle, Jet Ski, and Construction and Plant sectors, Datatag ID underwent a rigorous tendering and selection process before a final submission to the Construction Equipment Association and was announced as the winning company in November 2006. 

CESAR was first launched at the Combined Industries Theft Solutions (CITS) conference held at JCB’s Rocester HQ in 2007, with the agricultural sector coming on board on 2009.  

Since its launch, CESAR has been adopted by a real ‘who’s who’ of leading equipment manufacturers, including, among many others, Caterpillar, Hitachi, Massey Ferguson, Volvo, Komatsu, Hyundai, and JCB. In fact, the scheme has been adopted by 93% of the leading OEMs in the UK 

CESAR Scheme Technology Explained 

CESAR uses State of the Art Datatag ID technology with both visible and covert markings, making it a real theft deterrent. These include the now-iconic and uniquely numbered tamper-evident triangular ID plates, hidden RFID transponders, microscopic Datadots, and a unique forensic DNA solution.  

Once fitted, these technologies are almost impossible to remove successfully and, when recorded on Datatag’s secure database, are accessible to the police 24/7, enabling them to identify any machine at the roadside. The Datatag team has trained thousands of police officers from across the 43 UK Constabularies on CESAR and the processes involved. 

There are no annual fees for the scheme, just a one-off investment in marking and registering your equipment for life. In addition, Datatag has a manned 24-hour international call centre specifically for CESAR and the scheme is also part of Interpol’s training programme – making its reach truly worldwide. 

The Evolution of CESAR 

To date, 550,000 items of equipment have been marked with the Datatag-exclusive multi-layered technology to give each machine a unique identity. The universally recognised triangular CESAR registration plate has become the industry standard identification mark, and has contributed to a significant decline in thefts since the scheme was first launched. 

Suneeta Johal, Chief Executive at CEA, comments on CESAR reaching its 15-year anniversary: 

“Unfortunately, we will never entirely stamp out plant theft, it’s a sad fact of life, particularly in the current economic climate. The CESAR scheme is amongst few proven plant theft deterrents and has excellent recovery rates. Reaching this 15-year milestone and 550 thousand registrations is testament to its success. We look forward to the next milestone of 1 million machines displaying the familiar CESAR triangle.” 

Recovery rates of CESAR registered equipment are substantially higher than non-registered machines – official statistics confirm that a machine protected and registered by the CESAR Scheme is approximately four times less likely to be stolen than a non-registered machine and approximately six times more likely to be recovered. 

The scheme is also recognised by Police, Law Enforcement, Border and Port Authorities as a result of the accurate machinery data recorded by Datatag and the CESAR Scheme. 

Ruth Bailey, Director General/CEO at AEA (Agricultural Engineers Association), says: 

“Theft of agricultural machinery is in nobody’s interest, except for the criminals, who are often part of organised criminal networks. As well as the financial costs involved, it is also incredibly disruptive to farmers and other users of machinery, who rely on it to look after livestock and grow crops. The AEA supports any initiative which reduces theft. CESAR has proved itself over the last 15 years to be a very effective deterrent and we see it going from strength to strength as it reaches this milestone.” 

In response to manufacturers, insurers and consumers raising the issue of small tool theft, in 2013 Datatag and the CEA launched Micro CESAR – a theft system for small tools and equipment.  

However, Datatag’s commitment to innovation didn’t stop there, and in 2019, the company announced in conjunction with the CEA the launch of the biggest evolution of the CESAR scheme to date: the Emissions Compliance Verification (ECV).  

ECV takes the machine’s engine emission standard from the engine’s EU Type Approval number and displays it on a simple to read colour coded plate. ECV provides a quick and easy reference point for machines working on sites where they are required to comply with Non-Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM) emission regulations. 

Kevin Howells, Managing Director at Datatag, says: 

“The last 15 years has been one of the most difficult and challenging periods ever recorded, particularly the last five years.  During this time, I have constantly been impressed and grateful for the support of the CEA, the AEA and the fantastic, dedicated team at Datatag, who have helped make the Official CESAR Scheme a world leading security initiative. Now, with the development of Emissions Compliance Verification, it’s helped to gain the support of virtually all of the major OEMs protecting and registering equipment for their valued customers, which now surpasses half a million machines. So thank you to all of the participating customer focussed manufacturers and here’s to the next 15 years.” 

The CESAR ECV system combines the technology behind the security marking scheme with an additional colour coded plate showing the engine emission stage, from stage two through to stage five, and now includes electric and, soon, hydrogen.  

The information about the machine is then collated on a comprehensive, secure database accessible through the ECV clearing portal. This information enables plant owners and operators, contractors and site managers to comply with any local policy or contractual obligation in place regarding machinery emissions levels. 

JCB and Hitachi were among the first manufacturers to fit the CESAR ECV scheme as standard in early 2020 and it has now been adopted by over 90% of OEMs and leading machine dealers in the construction sector, including HS2 across their sites as part of their air quality strategy.   

Tom Welland, Sunbelt Rentals Business Development Director HS2, says: 

“As part of the HS2 supply chain, Sunbelt Rentals recognise the need to report, easily, our Plant NRMM data to help achieve these targets. There is no universal recognition scheme for NRMMs, so currently it is a manual process to identify and ensure the correct policy is enforced. With a clear need for a simple system which could cut down in confusion, wrong deliveries, wasted time and money, as well as the risk of non-compliant plant being used, the ECV scheme created by Datatag ID in partnership with the CEA, seemed the logical scheme to get behind and support.”  

Datatag ID continues to work alongside the CEA and AEA to develop more efficient security solutions, and new developments in the CESAR suite of products are currently on trial with a leading contractor. 

To find out more about the CESAR scheme and how it’s protecting machinery and equipment across the UK, click here. 

For more information on Datatag ID and the company’s range of security solutions, check out their website, where you can also learn about the other schemes in place. 

Have you been affected by plant and machinery theft lately? Get in touch in the comments below and let us know what your experience was like. 

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